Craig Chaquico: Follow the Sun

Jeff Winbush By

Sign in to view read count
Craig Chaquico: Follow the Sun Back when he was pumping out power chords for Jefferson Starship (later trimmed down to simply Starship) guitarist Craig Chaquico performed on one of the band's biggest and last hits, "We Built This City." That song would later top VH-1's The 50 Most Awesomely Bad Songs...Ever as the absolute worst rock song.

Chaquico didn't deserve the blame for that song's cheesiness. When he was playing rock n' roll he was a pretty formidable guitarist and when he went solo he surprised doubters with his debut, Acoustic Highway (Higher Octave, 1993), displaying his New Age and contemporary jazz skills.

On his first album in four years and on a new label, Chaquico moves further into the smooth jazz camp in search of greater commercial success, but without spurning his spiritual roots in both Latin and Native American music.

Which makes Behind the Sun something of a balancing act for Chaquico. Things start off fine with "Lua Da Mae" and "Azores Lisboa," two sizzling hot slabs of the kind of Latin jazz-rock that once was the staple of Carlos Santana, but has been mostly abandoned in recent years. Things proceed nicely right up until "Lights Out San Francisco," an updating of the original version from Once In A Blue Universe (Higher Octave, 1997) that squanders Peter White's Spanish guitar with corny lyrics and thin vocals from Rolf Hartley.

Chaquico is an interesting guitarist with a lot of ideas, but even he can't make a cover of Kenny G's "Songbird" intriguing. It's an overt tribute to the sax man's ability to move product, but "Songbird" is to jazz what "We Built This City" is to rock; a triumph of slick commercialism over creativity.

Things pick up nicely with "The Coast of Orion," "Island Breeze" and the closer, "Solar Wind," where Chaquico focuses on just playing instead of crafting radio-friendly fodder.

As an artist who plays with power, finesse and passion, Chaquico's recordings never fail to impress repeatedly, but those moments are scattered sporadically throughout Behind the Sun. Some curious choices in material make this a worthy addition for fans, but others may just wonder if this is the same rock n' roll dude from the '80s, only with no mustache and shorter hair.

Track Listing: Lua Da Mae; Azores Lisboa; Fantasy in Paradise; Circus Beach; Barefoot in the Sand; Lights Out San Francisco; Songbird; The Coast of Orion; Island Breeze; Solar Wind.

Personnel: Craig Chaquico: guitars; Ozzie Ahlers: keyboards, Bill Heller: keyboards; drum programming, additional instrument sequencing, loops and samples; Bill Slais: keyboards, sax; Wade Olson: drums; Jim Reitzel: bass; Marquinho Brasil: percussion; Rolf Hartley: vocals, rhythm guitar; Gentle Thunder: Native American flute, Grand Hammer dulcimer; Peter White: Spanish guitar (6); Lenny Castro: percussion (6); Larry Kimpel: bass (6); Carlos Vega: drums (6); Kevin Tokarz: keyboards (3); Lane Cameron: rhythm guitar (3).

Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Shanachie Records | Style: Contemporary/Smooth

Related Video


CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Midnight Noon
EarthFlight Productions
Shadow And Light
EarthFlight Productions
EarthFlight Productions
Earl Klugh Earl Klugh
guitar, acoustic
Spyro Gyra Spyro Gyra
Wayman Tisdale Wayman Tisdale
bass, electric
The Rippingtons The Rippingtons
Peter White Peter White
Brian Culbertson Brian Culbertson
David Benoit David Benoit
Chuck Loeb Chuck Loeb
Everette Harp Everette Harp
Acoustic Alchemy Acoustic Alchemy
Rick Braun Rick Braun
Boney James Boney James

More Articles

Read June CD/LP/Track Review June
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Final Concert CD/LP/Track Review The Final Concert
by John Sharpe
Published: February 19, 2017
Read Desire & Freedom CD/LP/Track Review Desire & Freedom
by Glenn Astarita
Published: February 19, 2017
Read On Hollywood Boulevard CD/LP/Track Review On Hollywood Boulevard
by Budd Kopman
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Motorman's Son CD/LP/Track Review The Motorman's Son
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 18, 2017
Read "Arctic" CD/LP/Track Review Arctic
by James Nadal
Published: April 1, 2016
Read "Masters Legacy Series, Volume 1" CD/LP/Track Review Masters Legacy Series, Volume 1
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: January 28, 2017
Read "The Joy of Being" CD/LP/Track Review The Joy of Being
by Budd Kopman
Published: February 1, 2017
Read "An Eclipse Of Images" CD/LP/Track Review An Eclipse Of Images
by Mark Corroto
Published: September 1, 2016
Read "Ears Are Filled With Wonder" CD/LP/Track Review Ears Are Filled With Wonder
by John Sharpe
Published: August 20, 2016
Read "Lingo" CD/LP/Track Review Lingo
by Paul Rauch
Published: January 10, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!